Team India’s 20-man squad was announced on Thursday for the upcoming white-ball tour of Sri Lanka. The Men in Blue will take on the hosts for three ODIs and three T20Is in July. All matches will be played at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
While veteran batsman Shikhar Dhawan has been named captain for the tour, pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be his deputy. The Indian team will line up with a few fresh faces against the Lankan Lions.
Keeping that in mind, here is Team India’s predicted playing XI for Sri Lanka ODIs:
1. Shikhar Dhawan (c)
Due to the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli and white-ball vice-captain Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan will have the added responsibility of steering the Indian team to victory against the Lankan Lions.
Scoring runs has never been a problem for Dhawan and the veteran will hope to continue that trend during the ODI series. So far, the southpaw has played 142 ODIs for Team India, amassing 5977 runs at an average of 45.3.
2. Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw has been out of the Indian team since the tour of Australia last year. However, his recent form in domestic cricket, as well as IPL 2021, has seen him being recalled to the team for the upcoming tour.
Though India have also named newcomers Devdutt Padikkal and Ruturaj Gaikwad in its squad, Shaw is likely to partner Dhawan at the top of the order, having already played three ODIs. However, he is yet to impress in a blue jersey.
3. Devdutt Padikkal
Devdutt Padikkal has been hogging all the limelight due to his exploits in the domestic circuit. In Vijay Hazare Trophy 2020-21, Padikkal smashed 3 centuries and 4 half-centuries in 7 matches.
The southpaw has also performed exceptionally well in his IPL career, so far. Considering his recent blitzkrieg, Devdutt Padikkal could get a nod in at the heart of Team India’s middle-order.
4. Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav has come to the limelight with his aggressive, yet smart, batting. He has been a consistent performer in the domestic circuit, as well as the IPL, over the years. He will be a good choice for the middle-order batsman in the ODI series.
‘SKY’ made a fabulous international debut against England, smashing a fifty in the first T20I he played. He is yet to make his ODI debut but that wait is likely to end against Sri Lanka in July.
5. Manish Pandey
Although a regular member of Team India’s white-ball team, Manish Pandey has been in and out of the playing XI because of his consistent. Nonetheless, Pandey possesses a lot of finesse in his batting and could hurt any team on his day.
So far, Pandey has played 26 ODIs for Team India, notching up 492 runs at a decent average of 35.1. Considering his previous experience, Pandey should be part of the playing XI in the ODI series.
6. Ishan Kishan (wk)
Ishan Kishan is likely to keep the gloves for India against Sri Lanka in the absence of both Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul. Sanju Samson is also a part of the squad, but his performances in the Indian jersey haven’t been up to the mark.
Ishan, on the other hand, has impressed fans with his batting in the IPL last year and in the T20I series against England in March. He slammed a fifty in his debut T20I against England. Hence, he could get a place in the playing XI.
7. Hardik Pandya
For the past 4-5 years, Hardik Pandya has become an important member of Team India with his explosive batting, economical bowling, and acrobatic fielding. He is unarguably one of the best finishers in the world at the moment.
Hardik batted well in the recent ODI series against England. He can also chip in with a few overs if needed. So, he is another experienced player who is most likely to be a part of the playing XI.
8. Krunal Pandya
Krunal Pandya recently made his ODI debut for Team India in the home series against England. Though he didn’t have a good outing with the ball, he played a brilliant knock of 58 from 31 balls and helped India win the game.
Since the conditions in Sri Lanka are likely to favor the spinners, India are likely to line up with two spinners. Hence, Krunal could get a place in the playing XI because of his ability to contribute with both bat and ball.
9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Having been named as the vice-captain for the tour, Bhuvneshwar Kumar will lead the pace attack for India against Sri Lanka. After missing a fair amount of cricket last year due to an injury, he made a strong comeback to the team in the white-ball series against England.
One of the few veterans in the team, Bhuvi has already played over 100 ODIs, bagging 138 wickets at an economy rate of 5.01, since making his debut against Pakistan in 2012. Team India will hope that he can provide some early breakthroughs throughout the tour.
10. Deepak Chahar
Deepak Chahar has emerged as a brilliant bowler for Team India after he made his international debut in 2018. Though he has not featured much in ODIs, he has done remarkably well in the shortest format.
He was also impressive in IPL 2021 while playing for Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Form-wise, he is one of the best Indian bowlers at the moment. Hence, he should be in the playing XI against Sri Lanka.
11. Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal has been a regular member of India’s white-ball team over the past 3-4 years. Though he has been a bit expensive at times, he clearly has the ability to find breakthroughs for the team.
Also, his experience will vital for the Men in Blue in Sri Lanka as the tracks are likely to assist the spinners. So far, the 30-year-old has played 54 ODIs, scalping 92 wickets at an economy rate of 5.20.